Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The hyphen is a powerful tool that holds the capability to alter a sentence. Likewise, choosing to exclude a hyphen can have the same profound effect on a sentence. Just like most grammar rules, there are a ton of exceptions, exclusions, and special scenarios; however, I intend to give you an operational understanding of when (and when not) to use the hyphen. For clarity’s sake, it’s important to be able to pinpoint the way in which a hyphen changes the overall meaning of the message a writer is trying to convey. Consider the following example.
Bradley cheerfully smiled and returned to the bank teller’s desk to resign his paycheck.
Eventhough Bradley is returning to the bank teller’s desk in a seemingly great mood, I’m sure that smile is going to turn upside down when he realizes that he just forfeited his check to the bank teller. You see, without a hyphen it’s impossible to know whether Bradley intended to re-sign his check or resign (submit or give up) his check to the teller. If Bradley is going to maintain that smile, he would most likely be re-signing the check.
Carrie sweated profusely after the high-intensity workout.
The example above denotes the more common usage of hyphenating which occurs when using two adjectives as one idea before a noun. It is extremely important that the two adjectives are working together to illustrate the same concept. The workout was both high and intense. If the high-intensity had been positioned somewhere different in the sentence, perhaps after the noun workout, a hyphen would usually not be used.
There are other cases where a hyphen would almost always be used. Fractions and numbers used as words such as: three-fifths, two-thirds, etc. are always hyphenated. Common compound words and phrases containing words such as: half, part, ex, self, and/or all, usually require a hyphen. Of course there are always special exceptions and in those special cases Rasilliant Enterprises is here with a readily available answer for you. Remember, don’t let your writing be mangled by simple mistakes that can be easily avoided.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
It’s a simple fact: no one likes to be left hanging; this includes the subject, nouns, adjectives, etc. Oftentimes, people make the mistake of replacing the subject altogether by using a dangling participle. By doing this, we often give inordinate action to objects that prove to be very awkward. Consider the following sentence.
Driving down the highway, the buildings jumped out at us.
If you were driving down the highway and buildings were jumping out at you, in addition to a messy pile-up, it’s highly likely that you would not survive to write a sentence about it, LOL. This is called a dangling participle, because the participle is left standing alone without a clear antecedent. Dictionary.com defines an antecedent as “a word, phrase, or clause, usually a substantive, that is replaced by a pronoun or other substitute later, or occasionally earlier, in the same or in another, usually subsequent, sentence.” A more appropriate way to phrase the previous example would be as follows:
As we drove down the highway, the buildings appeared to be jumping out at us.
Dangling participles can lead to huge misunderstandings in your writing. It also distracts from the central idea and shifts the focus to vague, insignificant concepts. The last thing you want to do is have the focus shifted away from the message you are trying to convey. Personally, I think that dangling participles become a more pressing problem when people use more compound sentences. Let’s look at another example.
Eating the pizza, the jalapeños triggered a fire in my mouth.
Notice in this sentence, the dangling participle modifies the wrong noun. It is unsafe to assume that your readers will be able to bridge your implication with the subject. The optimal thing to do would be to latch the participle onto something so the sentence will make sense. Remember, the goal is to write as clear as possible–avoiding ambiguity at all costs. A more acceptable version of this would read as follows:
The jalapeños seemed to trigger a fire in my mouth as I ate the pizza.
Stay tuned as we follow up with another writing tip guaranteed to take your writing to the next level. Remember, our goal is not only to provide you with writing services, but we seek to help as many as possible become great writers. Writing doesn’t have to be viewed as some ominous task that only an elite few are able to do successfully. There is a writer inside of you dying to get out, and we are committed to helping you discover and rescue that writer!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
My name is Bradley Hall. I teach 4th grade. I live in Wilmington, Delaware. I have taught for seven years. I now desire to go to law school. I hope to enroll in the Blue Bonnet University. I have no money for tuition. I offer many great things. I am creative. I am passionate. I am transparent. I am willing to work hard.
My name is Bradley Hall—a fourth-grade teacher from Wilmington, Delaware. I have taught for seven years, but now I desire to go to law school. I hope to enroll in the Blue Bonnet University; however, I have no money for tuition. I offer many great things such as: creativity, passion, transparency, and a willingness to work hard.
- Em Dash: It allows for a break in tone, or in thought.
- Comma: In the paragraph above it was used to separate a clause and it was used to list.
- Semicolon: It is used to separate two independent clauses. Be careful though, both clauses must be able to stand alone as separate sentences if the semicolon were absent.
- Colon: In this case, it was used before a list of ideas or concepts.
Monday, October 18, 2010
After much prodding from customers, family, and friends, I am running a six-entry blog series dedicated to helping others overhaul bad writing practices. Again, it is our desire to see all professionals and aspiring professionals be transformed into functional writers. Recently, I was asked to pinpoint the most annoying mistake I see while proofing documents for others. Initially, I wanted to focus on the mistakes that I find my pen making the most, but that wouldn’t be in the best interest of my audience. If I could only verbalize how atomic the war against words can get, I could properly illustrate the turmoil that we go through to ensure documents are error-free, polished, and as concise as possible. Having shared that, the first offender of bad writing we will attack is the incorrect usage of homophones.
It has been said, that it takes twenty-one days to break a habit. If that is true, are you willing to do what it takes to eliminate the habit of misusing homophones? First, let us define a homophone. A homophone describes a word that sounds similar to another, but possesses a totally different meaning. Here are a few examples of homophonic errors.
1. Lucy chose the club witch would be the closest to there house.
2. Bobby plans to take his favorite toy plain on the airplane with hem.
3. Before they set out to see, they each had a peace of pie.
I will now give three-fourths of you a moment to ask yourselves, “Is this guy crazy or what;” but you would be surprised how many documents come across my desk with these exact types of preventable errors. I always express to my clients how errors immediately begin to cancel out the author’s credibility. Imagine if you went to have a final will and testament prepared by a lawyer; how offended would you be if the title plastered across the top of the page was “WHEEL AND TESTAMENT”? You would most likely think that this lawyer is not only incompetent, but it would probably prod you to read the entire document with a raised eyebrow and fine toothed comb. I ask you to reference the 15 common homophones below that I typically encounter while editing. I beg you to double-check this list to make sure that these homophones are not murdering your writing style. Perhaps it is necessary that you create a cheat sheet to identify homophones that you accidentally interchange. Remember, it takes consistency and dedication to break bad habits.
Monday, October 4, 2010
While we don't expect our customers to be avid copy-editors, we ensure that we at least introduce our customers to the copy-editing process. Anyone who creates documents, spreadsheets, pamphlets, newsletters, etc, should be able to differentiate between copy-editing and proofreading. Besides being able to pinpoint errors in the text, correct margins, rational fonts, page numbering must be adhered to. Before committing to an editing project, Rasilliant Enterprises offers our customers a one-time complimentary 500-word sample edit. By doing this, customers are able to get a brief taste of our editing process; moreover, this sample gives our customers a chance to look at their document through the veil of a more detailed analysis. So, if you are unsure as to whether your work needs proofread or copy-edited, contact us immediately! We are more than willing to work with you until you possess a functional understanding of both.